Beautiful Joe
Chapter 27, Page 3


Please be aware that this book was originally published in 1894 and may contain words, descriptions, or other passages that may be considered offensive today.


For a few minutes, Miss Laura and Adele flew about the kitchen, then we set off again. Miss Laura took me in the buggy, for I was out of breath and wheezing greatly. I had to sit on the seat beside her, for the bottom of the buggy and the back were full of eatables for the poor sick animals. Just as we drove into the road, we met Mr. Wood. "Are you running away with the farm?" he said with a laugh, pointing to the carrot tops that were gaily waving over the dashboard.

Miss Laura said a few words to him, and with a very grave face he got in beside her. In a short time, we were back on the lonely road. Mr. Harry was waiting at the gate for us, and when he saw Miss Laura, he said, "Why did you come jack again? You'll be tired out. This isn't a place for a sensitive girl like you."

"I thought I might be of some use," said she, gently.

"So you can," said Mr. Wood. "You go into the house and sit down, and Harry and I will come to you when we want cheering up. What have you been doing, Harry?"

"I've watered them a little, and got a good fire going. I scarcely think the cow will pull through. I think we'll save the horse. I tried to get the cow out-doors, but she can't move."

"Let her alone," said Mr. Wood. "Give her some food and her strength will come to her. What have you got here?" and he began to take the things out of the buggy. "Bless the child, she's thought of everything, even the salt. Bring those things into the house, Harry, and we'll make a bran mash."

For more than an hour they were fussing over the animals. Then they came in and sat down. The inside of the Englishman's house was as untidy as the outside. There was no upstairs to it — only one large room with a dirty curtain stretched across it. On one side was a low bed with a heap of clothes on it, a chair and a wash-stand. On the other was a stove, a table, a shaky rocking-chair that Miss Laura was sitting in, a few hanging shelves with some dishes and books on them, and two or three small boxes that had evidently been used for seats.

On the walls were tacked some pictures of grand houses and ladies and gentlemen in fine clothes, and Miss Laura said that some of them were noble people. "Well, I'm glad this particular nobleman has left us," said Mr. Wood, seating himself on one of the boxes, "if nobleman he is. I should call him in plain English, a scoundrel. Did Harry show you his note?"

"No, uncle," said Miss Laura.

"Read it aloud," said Mr. Wood. "I'd like to hear it again."

Miss Laura read:

J. WOOD, Esq.

Dear Sir: — It is a matter of great regret to me that I am suddenly called away from my place at Penhollow, and will, therefore, not be able to do myself the pleasure of calling on you and settling my little account. I sincerely hope that the possession of my live stock which I make entirely over to you, will more than reimburse you for any trifling expense which you may have incurred on my account. If it is any gratification to you to know that you have rendered a slight assistance to the son of one of England's noblest noblemen, you have it. With expressions of the deepest respect, and hoping that my stock may be in good condition when you take possession,

I am, dear sir, ever devotedly yours,